Sony VAIO W reviewed: HD screen too much for Intel graphics

Chris Davies - Jul 29, 2009

Sony have already confirmed that they attempted to differentiate their VAIO W netbook from rivals by giving it a relatively high-resolution 1,366 x 768 10.1-inch display, but in doing so did they undermine the Atom N270-based budget ultraportable’s overall performance?  That’s one possibility raised by Computer Shopper in their review of the Sony VAIO W, describing the graphics showing as “lackluster”.

“On 3DMark06, which measures graphics performance, the VAIO W’s score was among the slowest we’ve seen, at 76. The GMA 950 graphics integrated within Intel’s 945 chipset is anemic even on netbooks with only 1,024×576 pixels to push, so we’re not surprised that its performance was even more lackluster on the higher-resolution 1,366×768 display.” Computer Shopper

Battery life also gets a black mark, with the standard 3-cell pack managing just 2 hours 24 minutes of WiFi streaming.  Still, audio performance is good, the screen – when not stressing the GMA 950 chipset – is pleasingly spacious for navigating webpages and, although potentially cramped for those with larger hands, the keyboard has “good spacing” and “allows deep key presses”.

In the end, as you might expect from a netbook at the tail-end of the N270 revolution the Sony comes through as “a worthy contender” by virtue of its slick design and – when you can use it – higher native resolution.  However we’d still be tempted to stick it out and wait for the first of the Atom N450 machines.

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